5 Netflix Shows Based On Books That You Definitely Didn't Realize Were Adaptations

David Giesbrecht/Netflix

Maybe this is just the nosy nerd in me, but whenever I find a movie or a television series that I love, I immediately do a deep dive into its origins. Who wrote it, who thought of it, where did it come from — and nothing is more exciting than discovering a show is based on a book. One story, and double the #content. If you love to binge that content in all formats, check out these Netflix shows you didn't realize were based on books.

The practice of adapting books to the big screen — or, uh, the little screen? — has been happening since the dawn of film itself. Rip Van Winkle, a short story published by Washington Irving in 1819, became a series of eight short films in 1896 (later compiled into one four-minute piece in 1903). The first adaptation of the classic fairy tale Cinderella arose in 1898; four years later, in 1902, Snow White debuted. And it's no wonder some of the earliest filmmakers sought out beloved stories, ones that made their way through generations of readers — and, subsequently, storytellers.

Literature has always been a visual medium. Through words on a page, a partnership forms between reader and writer, and something new is created, something that plays on the reader's own memories. With film, the interpretation is more straight-forward. There is Snow White, that's her face. Here is the way she smiles, dances, cleans. And while a certain indescribable bit of literary magic may be lost in the jump from page to screen, there is one notable upside: access. Hoards of new people, who may not be able to read well, who may not be able to scoop up book after book, can watch a story unfold.

'Girlboss,' based on '#Girlboss' by Sophia Amoruso

Netflix on YouTube

Girlboss the 2017 Netflix series starring Britt Robertson, is actually based on the 2015 memoir of the same name (well, technically it's #Girlboss). Penned by Sophia Amoruso, the book charts her often-comical stumbles (and eventual rise) as creator/owner of online clothing giant Nasty Gal and CEO of media company Girlboss. And yes, it really did start with a gig as an art school lobby attendant.

Click here to buy.

'House of Cards,' based on 'House of Cards' by Michael Dobbs

Netflix on YouTube

Though the soon-to-be-shuttered political drama House of Cards series feels distinctly American, it was in fact a remake of a 1990s BBC series of the same name, which in turn was based on a 1989 thriller by Michael Dobbs, also called House of Cards (I mean, if it ain't broke, don't fix it). The novel, like the original BBC iteration, is set in the UK and charts the sometimes violent, often duplicitous, always intriguing rise of Francis Urquhart through the political ranks.

Click here to buy.

'Hemlock Grove': Based on 'Hemlock Grove' by Brian McGreevy

Netflix on YouTube

I dare you to watch a full episode of Hemlock Grove and not say, "...What?!" at least three times. The surrealist sci-fi/fantasy venture, which ran for two years on Netflix, is based on a 2013 novel of the same name by Brian McGreevey. The book, set in Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, plays on classic horror tropes and archetypes, marrying werewolves with biotech, stories our grandmothers told us with stories we'll tell our grandchildren.

Click here to buy.

'Shadowhunters': Based on 'City of Bones' by Cassandra Clare

CBR Interviews on YouTube

Netflix's Shadowhunters is actually based on a series by the prolific YA fantasy writer Cassandra Clare.

Click here to buy.

'Mindhunter': Based on 'Mindhunter: Inside The FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit' by John Douglas

Netflix on YouTube

Yep, Mindhunter, which kept me awake for, oh, I'd say at least a week after binging it in like 48 hours, is in fact based on the 1996 memoir by FBI Special Agent John E. Douglas. Over his 25-year career with the FBI Investigative Support Unit, Douglas encountered - and interviewed, and psychologically profiled - some of the nation's most prolific serial killers. So you know that old rational for talking yourself out of being Very Scared - "It's just television"? LOL nope, not in this case.

Click here to buy.